List of Science In The Capital trilogy characters

This is a list of the characters appearing in the Science In The Capital trilogy, composed of Forty Signs Of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days And Counting -- and re-edited into the omnibus Green Earth.

Main characters

Frank Vanderwal

Originally from UCSD, did a one-year visit to NSF in Washington. His bold ideas to change the way NSF does science won him an extended position in NSF. Later member of the staff to the Presidential Science Advisor.

Charlie Quibler

Environmental policy advisor to Phil Chase, Mr Mom.

Anna Quibler

NSF Director of Bioinformatics Division. Hard scientist.

Phil Chase

Senator, then Presidential candidate for the Democratic party, and ultimately President of the USA. See also Antarctica.

Diane Chang

Head of NSF and later Presidential Science Advisor.

Caroline Churchland

Agent of a Homeland Security agency gone rogue, comes to fall in love with Frank and go on the run from her husband Edward Cooper, also in the agency.

Minor characters

The Khembalis

People from the island nation of Khembalung, moved in Washington, DC, to lobby against climate change when their island is endangered by rising sea levels.

Gyatso Sonam Rudra Cakrin

Old Khembali, born in Tibet. A tulku, often performs ceremonies. Moved in to Washington where he first started taking lessons to learn English. Befriended Frank.


Young Khembali. Born in Khembalung, has been to Calcutta and speaks English very well. It is later revealed that he holds a much more important place in Khembali hierarchy than what it seemed at first. He is in fact the true spiritual and political leader behind Khembalung, the Panchen Lama. He was taken by Chinese at birth and hidden, and while another boy was officially presented as the Panchen Lama in China he was kept close to Chinese authorities in Beijing. He was rescued by fellow Khembalis. Moved in to Washington and kept a low public profile, pretending to be an assistant to Rudra. The Chinese and Phil Chase are both in the know of his true position. President Chase gave him diplomatic immunity and made him take part in the delicate US-China talks.


Khembali assistant to Ruda Cakrin. Imprisoned by the Chinese for 10 years with other Khembalis. Advisor to Drepung.

The Quiblers

Sons of Anna and Charlie.

Nick Quibler

Older son, in third grade. Goes to Rock Creek Park and the zoo with Frank.

Joe Quibler

Younger son, toddler.

NSF staff

Kenzo Kayakawa

Frank’s school housemate and fellow climber when they were in California. Climatologist, worked at NOAA before joining NSF. Loves talking about extreme weather, nicknamed the “Master of Disaster”. Runs with Frank at lunchtimes.

Edgardo Alfonso

Worked in DARPA for a year before moving to NSF. Passionate with market news and the financial world. From Buenos Aires, Argentina. Questions everything, even science, and often makes cynical comments with his black humor. Enjoys Astor Piazzolla's music. Runs with Frank at lunchtimes.

Chase's staff

Roy Anastophoulos

Chase’s chief of staff.

Wade Norton

Chase’s ex-chief of staff and climate change advisor. Now stationed in Antarctica, makes occasional calls. See also Antarctica.

Biotech start-ups staff

In San Diego, California.

Leo Mulhouse

Chief researcher for biotech start-up Torrey Pines Generique (TPG) in San Diego. Lives at Leucadia. Fired when TPG was taken over by Small Delivery Systems. With the help of Frank, came to work for NSF's newly created Regional Research Center in Climate and Earth Sciences (RRCCCES), which used the old TPG facilities.

Yann Pierzinski

Does a PhD in bio-maths at Caltech, and working in a temporary contract in TPG. Did valuable research in algorithms predicting a gene's protein expression. Young and smart, pure mathematician, is not interested to the biotech applications of his algorithms. Hired in Small Delivery Systems, then moved to NSF's RRCCES center and became a leading expert in his field.


Leo's lab assistant. Californian, loves surfing. Married an ex-professor and then married Frank; they got a house at Cardiff. Frank hid a third mortgage from her to invest in a biotech start-up; when they broke up the money was gone, so Frank still owes Marta.

Eleanor Dufours

Post-doc at TGP, co-authored papers with Marta on the carbon-capturing lichen, applying Yann's method. Employed in Small Delivery Systems. Her work was used in NSF's RRCCES.


The Bros

Homeless people that hang around Rock Creek Park, in particular around Site 21. Several of them are Vietnam Vets. Frank befriends them and hangs around with them often. There's Zeno (abrasive voice), Fedpage (reads the Washington Post, well versed in federal bureaucracy), Cutter (used to work in city park service, now just cuts trees), Andy, Jory, Chessman (black boy, chess prodigy; gets to go into nation-wide chess competitions), Deirdre (knitting woman).

The Frisbee players

Spencer, Robin, Robert. Hang around at Rock Creek Park playing Frisbee. Frank befriends them and plays with them. Several are parts of the fregan culture of Washington.

Edward Cooper

Caroline’s husband. Ex-CIA (Afghanistan detail), then Homeland Security), then called in Research and Development Agency Prime to assist Caroline. Blond. 23


Porteño (from Buenos Aires, Argentina), friend of Edgardo. Works at the GAO (General Accountability Office), helps Frank with de-bugging him and gathering evidence against Edward Cooper's team.

Dr Francesca Taolini

Works at the Center for Biocomputational Studies in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A consultant for biotech firm Small Delivery Systems. Frank is not unsensible to her charming appearance and voice, however he's outmaneuvered by her schemes to bring in Yann Pierzinski to Small Delivery in the NSF committee for funding research projects.

The President of the USA

Republican President (during the first two novels). Said to be a puppet but actually witty when face-to-face. Climate change skeptic. Unnamed, but an evident stand-in for President George W. Bush.